Ocado buys robotics company for $262m

Ocado Group has completed the $262 million acquisition of AI-powered robotics company Kindred Systems.

The online grocery platform first announced its plans to buy the San Francisco and Toronto based company last month.

Kindred Systems designs sophisticated piece-picking robots for e-commerce and order fulfilment.

In November it was also announced that the supermarket retailer would buy Haddington Dynamics, a robotic-arm designer and manufacturer, for $25 million.

The purchase of both companies is part of the company’s plans to further develop its position as a leader in robotic manipulation solutions in the supermarket space.

Ocado wants to accelerate the existing machine learning, computer vision, and engineering systems that currently in production at its customer fulfilment centre in Erith.

"I am delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of Kindred Systems and to formally welcome the team to Ocado,” said Tim Steiner, chief executive, Ocado. We look forward to working together to accelerate the development of robotic picking solutions, improving their speed, accuracy, product range and economics, which will benefit our Ocado Solutions partners as well as Kindred Systems' existing customers."

Marin Tchakarov, chief executive, Kindred Systems, said: "I am proud to see Kindred Systems and our brilliant team recognised by Ocado as a leader in robotic pick and place manipulation, and we are extremely excited to realise our next chapter as part of them.

“We have achieved very strong growth with our retail e-commerce fulfilment customers over the last 3 years, and the unique challenges presented in grocery fulfilment will bring an even richer learning environment, further expanding on both our technology and market solutions set.

“Benefitting from Ocado's excellence in research, technology, product development and partnering will give Kindred Systems the opportunity to continue to grow and stay at the forefront of AI and machine learning automation and workforce collaboration."

The completion of the Haddington Dynamics acquisition is subject to the satisfaction of certain US regulatory and commercial closing conditions, and is expected to close during calendar year 2020.

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